Batting on the fourth innings of the fourth or fifth day of the first Test in the subcontinent is usually tough. This might have been one of the biggest reasons that New Zealand might have opted to bat first. However, this decision seems to have backfired a bit after looking at how things have panned out. Sri Lanka is clearly in the driver’s seat at the moment and is favourite to win the match.
On Day-4, the Kiwis resumed their batting with an overnight score of 195/7. BJ Watling was in the company of the tail-enders and his job was to take the lead past 250 at least. He did the job perfectly well and it was quite a turnaround for New Zealand from being 124/6 at one stage. Watling’s innings ended on 77 while William Somerville chipped in with an unbeaten 40. Trent Boult and Ajaz Patel scored quickfire 26 and 14 towards the end before New Zealand was bowled out for 285.
Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne ease the pressure on Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka had to chase 268 runs to win this match. The pitch – surprising is still quite good for batting. While a few deliveries turned and gripped, there wasn’t any weird behaviour most of the times. Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne made the most of the opportunity. They played cautious cricket and batted beautifully.
The duo, with their splendid partnership, put the visitors under the shell bringing a sense of disappointment and frustration into their camp. They hardly put a foot wrong and had the luck on their favour on a few occasions. Tom Latham put down a tough catch of Karunaratne at an important juncture leading to further disappointment. In the 50 overs that they batted on the day, Sri Lanka didn’t lose a wicket and put up 133 runs.
They will need another 135 runs to win the game and looking at how things have gone, that should be a cakewalk. Dimuth Karunaratne is unbeaten on 71 while Lahiru Thirimanne is batting on 57. Kane Williamson and his men need something really special on the final day of play if they have to pull this off.
Here is how Twitterati reacted on the day:
Brilliant work by Sri Lanka's openers Dimuth Karunaratne (71*) and Lahiru Thiramanne (57*) who have taken Sri Lanka to 133/0 on stumps day four at Galle. 135 to win tomorrow. #SLvNZ
— Rick Eyre on cricket (@rickeyrecricket) August 17, 2019
Only a miracle can save Kiwis!#SLvNZ
— VIKASH KUMAR (@vkc1000) August 17, 2019
Don't write New Zealand off yet… Remember the first test at Abu Dhabi in 2018… Can they conjure the magic once again.??? #SLvNZ
— Vishal (@Vishal_14_) August 17, 2019
50 for Thirimanne since the Jurassic Era#SLvNZ
— Aqeeb (@Aqibmzm) August 17, 2019
What a start from SL openers! They have put SL into a winning position!#SLvNZ
— VIKASH KUMAR (@vkc1000) August 17, 2019
Why did our boys show the Sri Lankans how to bat so effectively on this pitch?! 😉😏 Doesn't look like these two will be getting out any time soon 🤔😕 #SLvNZ
— Jess (@BlackCapsNo1Fan) August 17, 2019
Well played Dimuth & Thiri.
Another 135 to go! 👌#SLvNZ
— ѕαrσj (@bossmsfff) August 17, 2019
This is outstanding test batting from both Karunaratne and Thirimanne. They are rotating the strike very well. #SLvNZ
— Rohan Mamtora (@RohanMamtora) August 17, 2019
SRI LANKA 🔥 #SLvNZ
— Ressa™ (@ResithaOFFICIAL) August 17, 2019
Top Partnership This #SLvNZ
— Chatil Panditasekara (@ChatilPandi) August 17, 2019
— Johns (@CricCrazyJohns) August 17, 2019
Somerville perhaps needs a few prayers. The man deserves some luck #SLvNZ
— Bharath Ramaraj (@Fancricket12) August 17, 2019
— Loshan – ARVLOSHAN (@ARVLoshan) August 17, 2019
— RAJ👉NTR💪💪 (@Rajagopal4545) August 17, 2019
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